VIC­TORY AT VIMY

HOW TRAIN­ING, TIM­ING, AND NEW BAT­TLE TAC­TICS HELPED CANADA CAP­TURE VIMY RIDGE.

Canada's History - - VIMY 100 -

SHOCK TROOPS

In late Oc­to­ber of 1916, Cana­dian troops ar­rive at Vimy Ridge and im­me­di­ately be­gin reg­u­lar raids on en­emy trenches, gaining cru­cial knowl­edge about Ger­man de­fences.

TRAIN­ING MAT­TERS

Through­out the win­ter, troops behind the front prac­tice on a fullscale replica of the ridge, high­light­ing key ob­jec­tives with coloured flags. Bat­tle maps are shared with the troops to en­sure that, should their of­fi­cers be killed, the sol­diers can con­tinue at­tack­ing.

UNLEASHING HELL

On March 20, 1917, 983 pieces of ar­tillery — from heavy guns and how­itzers to field pieces — be­gin ham­mer­ing the Ger­mans who are dug into Vimy Ridge. The guns will fire more than one mil­lion shells be­fore the ac­tual as­sault be­gins on April 9.

OVER THE TOP

The at­tack on Vimy Ridge be­gins at 5:30 a.m. on April 9. As the first wave of Cana­dian troops goes over the top, the ar­tillery be­gins a “creep­ing bar­rage.” This in­no­va­tive tac­tic sees troops closely fol­low a wall of shell­fire as it ad­vances across the bat­tle­field. By the end of the first day, most ob­jec­tives are achieved, but Ger­man ma­chine guns ex­act heavy losses on the Cana­di­ans.

BLOODY APRIL

High above the bat­tle­field, the British Royal Fly­ing Corps (RFC) en­gages in dan­ger­ous re­con­nais­sance flights in slow­mov­ing ob­ser­va­tion planes.

The RFC — which in­cludes many Cana­dian pi­lots and ob­servers — of­fers cru­cial in­tel­li­gence to the ground forces and even helps Al­lied gun­ners tar­get en­emy strong­points. But the planes have to fly at a low height, and many are shot down.

VIC­TORY!

The Cana­di­ans cap­ture al­most all of Hill 145 — the high­est point of Vimy Ridge — on April 9 and the lower slopes of the ridge on April 10. Two days later, they take an­other prom­i­nent height, nick­named “the pim­ple.” The Ger­mans re­treat. The vic­tory at Vimy Ridge marks the only sig­nif­i­cant Al­lied suc­cess of the spring of­fen­sive of 1917.

Cana­dian sol­diers ad­vance through Ger­man wire en­tan­gle­ments dur­ing the Bat­tle of Vimy Ridge. 32

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